DWC to upgrade entire network

Major overhaul of system will include 40 new servers

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By  Published  September 8, 2006

Dubai Women’s College (DWC) will replace its entire network infrastructure and install 40 new servers in a massive overhaul of its IT systems.

The college, which is part of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), will deploy an upgraded Cisco network featuring both wired and wireless technology with several new features, including power over ethernet, internet protocol (IP) telephony, and user level security.

It plans to implement a converged voice and data network which will cater to the recent 60% expansion of its campus space and will provide faster internet access and improved IT services for its 2,100 students and 250 staff.

Brent Pienaar, supervisor of finance and IT at DWC said the college wanted to take advantage of the campus expansion to replace ageing equipment, which had entered its fourth year of operation and “needed replacing”.

“The equipment we will be putting in can handle a number of new supporting technologies including IP telephony, user level security and gigabit to the desktop,” he said.

Once the network is completed, the campus would be “blanketed” by a wireless network, he claimed, a facility that was previously offered to students but suffered from poor signal coverage in some areas.

“All students have got laptops and they will be able to go and sit anywhere and continue to work,” Pienaar said.

As part of the network, the college will be creating a virtual private network (VPN), which will allow staff to work from home as well as those students who are holding down part-time jobs whilst pursuing their studies.

“We have more and more students who are working so they come in the afternoons and we try to avoid them coming in to campus everyday,” Pienaar said. “We will now be opening up our systems and putting systems in place where they can gain access from the outside.

“Staff will also be able to have all those rights from home which means that, if something needs to be done outside working hours, they don’t have to come all the way to the college,” he added.

In parallel to the overhaul of the college’s network infrastructure it is also installing 40 new servers, additional storage and extra storage area networking, backup technology and blade server centres.

For this side of the project the college will be upgrading its existing IBM technology.

The equipment for the new network has now arrived at the college and Pienaar hopes the entire IT project will be completed by the end of October.

“It’s a big project as it’s across all our buildings and we have 20 network rooms and 45 switches,” he said.

“But we’ve got time to implement, so we are taking a slow and steady approach,” Pienaar went on to add.

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